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SXSW: Who Needs a Distributor? Direct-to-Fan Distribution Platform VHX Opens to the Public

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire March 10, 2014 at 11:44AM

VHX, the direct-to-fan distribution platform built for premium video, officially launches to the public today after two years in private beta.
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Digital storefront for "Indie Game: The Movie"

When VHX, the direct-to-fan distribution platform, launched two years ago, they made a splash with the digital release for Aziz Ansari's stand-up special. Since then, VHX has worked with other high profile artists including Dave Grohl and Kevin Spacey. There are now over 350 titles available for sale through the platform.

Today, after two years in private beta, VHX officially launches to the public and all artists will now be able to sell their work directly to fans from their own websites.

"Throughout the past year, we've been building parts of the application and ended up building things like press screeners and couponing, a really robust platform with the goal of opening up to the public," VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson told Indiewire at SXSW. "Our goal is to make it super easy for anybody to sell video content on the web directly to their fans."

To coincide with the public launch, VHX has lowered and standardized pricing -- the service is free to sign up and use and then VHX charges 10% of sales + $0.50 per transaction. 

Currently, there are over 350 titles available for sale through the platform.

Since its launch, VHX (which was included on Indiewire's first-ever list of Influencers) has partnered with both independent filmmakers and distributors, including Drafthouse Films, with which VHX teamed to distributed "The Act of Killing." 

"We work with distributors as much as we work with individual creators," said Wilkinson. "That's one of the things we're trying to build awareness around…. It's a technology layer for doing this direct distribution which you can do if you're an independent documentary filmmaker and it's something you could do if you're a major distributor, a small distributor."

VHX enables filmmakers to turn their web site into their store, forging a direct relationship with their customer. "Instead of it being Apple's customer. It's actually your customer. So if you make another movie, you can market to them again," said Wilkinson.

While the platform has primarily been used to sell film and television content, Wilkinson sees real growth in other video content. The newly relaunched version of the home page shows off more than just the TV and film releases. "Anything that used to be sold on a DVD can now be sold on VHX - life concert footage and workout videos. We're interested in doing more outreach into the lifestyle business and health and faith. We look at top 100 selling DVDs selling on Amazon and it's a very eclectic mix of stuff and it's all stuff that people want and they can't get it anywhere else."

While at SXSW, Wilkinson and the VHX team are hoping to get the word out to filmmakers that they don't need to wait for a distributor to acquire their film. 

"Filmmakers at Sundance are used to the model of the last 35 years which is I make a great film. I sell it to somebody else and they do all the legwork. That's where we're embracing the shift in the model where you can do it yourself," he said.


This article is related to: VHX, SXSW, SXSW 2014, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), News, Filmmaker Toolkit: Distribution, Festivals